1st Edition

Sponsored Editorial Content in Digital Journalism

Edited By Jonathan Hardy Copyright 2023

    For advertisers and news publishers, brand sponsored content has offered attractive solutions to problems of ad-avoidance and financing journalism. This book is an investigation into the practices, possibilities and problems of sponsored editorial content across various national and regional contexts.

    Sponsored editorial content is material with similar qualities and format to content that is typically published on a platform or by a content provider, but which is paid for by a third party. Brand sponsored content may not be the remedy for ad-dependent media some advocates predicted but its expansion has impacted on the organisation, practices and identities of journalism in profound and far-reaching ways. This book explores the features and implications of content that blends, merges and disguises material that is sponsored with material that is or appears to be independent editorial.

    The chapters range across countries and regions from China and Israel to Europe and North America. Following a general introduction, authors address political and commercial sponsorship across production, content and audience research, developing and combining these in innovative ways to advance the study of paid-for content in contemporary digital journalism. This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal Digital Journalism.

    1. Introduction—Sponsored Editorial Content in Digital Journalism: Mapping the Merging of Media and Marketing

    Jonathan Hardy

    2. The Creation of Branded Content Teams in Spanish News Organizations and Their Implications for Structures, Professional Roles and Ethics

    Miguel Carvajal and Iker Barinagarrementeria

    3. Sponsored Content in Spanish Media: Strategies, Transparency, and Ethical Concerns

    Dolors Palau-Sampio

    4. The Visual Boundaries of Journalism: Native Advertising and the Convergence of Editorial and Commercial Content

    Raul Ferrer-Conill, Erik Knudsen, Corinna Lauerer, and Aviv Barnoy

    5. "It’s in the Air"—Sponsored Editorial Content as a Path for Stealth Government Propaganda: The Case of Israeli Media

    Anat Balint

    6. Native Advertising in the Chinese Press: Implications of State Subsidies for Journalist Professional Self-Identification

    Dan Wang and Steve Zhongshi Guo

    7. Sponsored Content in 2020: Back to the Future?

    Lisa Lynch

    8. Journalism and the Voice Intelligence Industry

    Joseph Turow


    Jonathan Hardy is Professor of Communications and Media at the University of the Arts London. His books include Branded Content: The Fateful Merging of Media and Marketing (2022) and Critical Political Economy of the Media (2014). He co-edited The Advertising Handbook (2018/2009) and edits the book series Routledge Critical Advertising Studies.